IN A 2011 RANKING PUBLISHED IN U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT, THE DASH DIET WAS RATED #1 BY A PANEL OF MEDICAL EXPERTS INCLUDING SPECIALISTS IN DIABETES AND HEART DISEASE— THE BEST OVERALL DIET AND THE BEST DIET FOR DIABETES!
This diet was specifically developed to aid the individuals with high blood pressure, known as
hypertension in the medical world. DASH - "Dietary approaches to stop hypertension" - has become very popular over the years in aiding individuals to control their blood pressure [which is one of the primary causes of heart disease] and has the honor of receiving recommendations from several health institutes.
A side effect of this diet is weight loss, this is due to the healthier eating patterns a person goes on in a attempt to control their blood pressure.
About DASH diet
The DASH diet aims at:
* Lowering the daily intake of sodium [salt]:
sodium increases blood pressure, so therefore by lowering their daily intake a person can control their hypertension. It is recommended that the sodium intake be lowered to below 3mg to 2mg per day, with lower than 2mg being the optimal amount.
* Avoiding processed foods:
these generally contain high sodium, preservatives and fat.
Processed foods are foods that have been altered from their natural state, this is generally for our convenience but some are changed for safety reasons - milk for example is processed because it is pasteurized to kill off bacteria.
There are several different ways to process food and some include canning,
dehydration and freezing. There are probably many more ways to process foods but I think you get the picture with the few examples I have given.
Processed foods are not as healthy as fresh food, below are a few examples of the
foods to avoid:
- Canned foods [most of these canned goods contain a lot of sodium]
- White breads [made with refined flour]rather eat bread made with whole grain flour.
- Pasta [see above]
- Snack foods such as chips and some cheeses.
- Frozen dinners.
- Frozen fish/chicken sticks.
- Packaged cakes and cake mixes.
- Pre baked and packed cookies.
- Meal mixes[boxed].
- Processed meats like palony or viennas etc.
- Certain breakfast cereals - especially those loaded with sugar.
* Avoiding some foods:
Foods that are high in fat and cholesterol, which include red meat, sweets and some dairy products, should be avoided as much as possible.
DASH Diet benefits:
- A drop in blood pressure [systolic and diastolic] - thus preventing heart disease.
- Weight loss - a added benefit of the DASH diet.
- Increased energy - due to the healthy diet a person is on to lower their blood pressure.
There have been studies conducted on this diet and the results are available for perusal on the NIH website.
The DASH Diet for Hypertension
The DASH Diet Action Plan
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